Sunday, 27 October 2013

Guilty Gigs

At some unknown point in my adult life, films became a priority over music. So many albums and films are released constantly that keeping up with all of them is a daunting and virtually impossible task. I used to be a huge gig-goer and as a teen, I'm ashamed to admit I used to be a bit of an autograph collector, regularly frequenting Tunbridge Well's Forum where I saw bands like Feeder before they “made it”.

Through University, my annual aim was three festivals a year and plenty of gigs in between. It's very hard to pinpoint when all of this changed; these days I'm averaging a weekly trip to the cinema but rarely even listen to albums or music, even on the radio. I was encouraged to stop buying CDs some time ago as living in a flat, I have limited space and I'm a bit of a hoarder - my tape collection is still in storage tucked away in a hard-to-reach spot at my parents' house.

The arrival of Spotify virtually removed the need to ever purchase an album, leaving me to guiltily watch my first gig in some time this week. I've wanted to see My Vitriol for years – they're one of the few bands on my “must see” list that are still going – albeit, only just. They've only recorded two albums (although they're technically referred to as one re-packaged double album) and new material hasn't been released since 2002. They've toured since then and the timing of my world travels meant I missed them playing London by a few weeks.

Going to see them in Manchester, I was almost expecting a cancellation so was delighted to see them on stage. They rocked, despite the normal irritating sound troubles that result in vocals being far too faint. The support act Bleech had an appealing 90s' sound, tempting me to purchase their CD. Checking out the merchandise stall, I discovered it would set me back a crisp £10 note. Umming and ahhing, I was soon put straight by The Boy who instructed me to test them out on Youtube first.

Thinking back to days of old, I felt enormously guilty. Back in my youth, I'd think nothing of buying a CD of a random and would have been prancing around, sweating profusely and grinning inanely, like some of the marginally younger crowd members in Gorilla. I, instead, watched from afar, leaning against the side wall, clutching a weighty trench coat, sweating not from exertion but from the sheer weight of my coat and workload in my rucksack I'd had to complete on the train journey to Manchester. Oh, how times have changed!

Returning home, I felt all the more guilty to discover the album I'd contemplated buying was indeed on Spotify in its entirety. I wonder, if Spotify didn't exist, would I still be buying the odd CD? Is my new mentality to blame or is technology?

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